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Menstrual Management Choices in Transgender and Gender Diverse Adolescents

  • Beth I. Schwartz
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Beth I. Schwartz, M.D., Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Thomas Jefferson University, 833 Chestnut Street, 1st Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107.
    Affiliations
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Division of Adolescent Medicine and Pediatric Gynecology, Nemours Children's Health, Wilmington, Delaware

    Department of Pediatrics, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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  • Benjamin Bear
    Affiliations
    Center for Healthcare Delivery Science, Nemours Children's Health, Wilmington, Delaware
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  • Anne E. Kazak
    Affiliations
    Department of Pediatrics, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Center for Healthcare Delivery Science, Nemours Children's Health, Wilmington, Delaware
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      Abstract

      Purpose

      Transgender and gender diverse patients who are assigned female at birth may request menstrual management to alleviate an increased dysphoria due to menses. The objective of this study is to describe the initiation and use over time of menstrual management methods (MMMs) in transgender and gender diverse adolescents.

      Methods

      A retrospective chart review was conducted of patients in a multidisciplinary pediatric gender program from March 2015 to December 2020 who were assigned female at birth, identified as transgender or gender diverse, and had achieved menarche. A descriptive statistical analysis was performed.

      Results

      Of 133 patients, 119 (90%) identified as transgender male, 11 (8%) as gender nonbinary, and 3 (2%) as another gender identity. Mean age was 15 (standard deviation 1.6) years. Only 12 (9%) patients had ever been sexually active. During the study period, 48 (36%) used gender-affirming testosterone. At the initial visit, 114 (86%) patients were not using an MMM. Of 80 patients who initiated a new MMM, 3 (4%) chose continuous oral contraceptive pills, 65 (83%) used norethindrone acetate (NETA), and 9 (11%) planned levonorgestrel intrauterine device (IUD) insertion. At 1 year, 56 patients were using NETA and 20 had an IUD in place.

      Discussion

      This study provides data on MMM choice in transgender and gender diverse adolescents using these methods almost exclusively for menstrual management and not contraception. Although few patients were using an MMM at baseline, most opted to start a method when given the opportunity. The most common methods were NETA or an levonorgestrel IUD.

      Keywords

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